Every week should be sun awareness and UV protection week

A special #SunAwarenessWeek & #SkinCancerAwarenessWeek Blog

Altruist Sunscreen and Solar Buddies have teamed up to help us all be more sun aware this May.  Starting with the basics, please wear more sunscreen and please help to protect those less able to protect themselves, especially children.

Sunscreen is proven to be effective in protecting against the sun, but only if worn correctly, generously, often (reapplying every 2 hours in the sun) and worn as part of a holistic safe-sun approach.  We all need to adopt healthy safe sun habits to properly protect children and ourselves against the damaging effects of the sun. 

This relates to when it is both sunny and when it is not. Up to 90% of UV rays can still penetrate cloud cover to reach earth, so please do not underestimate the power of the sun.

Regularly applying a high quality, high SPF (UVB) + PPD (UVA) broad spectrum sunscreen is vital to combating these harmful effects, such as developing skin cancer and premature aging.

Let’s start with what correct safe-sun practice is. We’ll then explain more about sunscreen, debunk some sunscreen myths and misconceptions and help everyone to protect all ages with some advice that we hope you’ll share with others – to help us educate more people and keep them safe in the sun.

Tips to protect against UV sun damage and to prevent burning:

  1. Please wear/ apply more sunscreen than you think you need – probably more than you are wearing at the moment!
  2. Research shows that most people do not use enough to achieve the quoted SPF
  3. Some people suggest a shot glass worth, or a teaspoon per body part such as arms, legs, face and each side of the body, but these can be these difficult concepts in practice
  4. We advise to put enough on so that the skin looks completely white before the cream goes in and to cover all exposed body parts/ areas
  5. It should be applied about 20 minutes before going out (to help prevent rub off) and then every two hours, or after swimming or toweling
  6. Try and avoid the sun between 11am – 3pm, when the sun is strongest.
  7. Wear clothes, a broad brimmed hat (without holes)and UV sunglasses.
  8. And ideally, wear UV50+ protective clothing or swimwear (especially for children) or ensure that the clothes you wear are dark or bright colours, with tight weave fabrics as UV can still penetrate light clothing and you could even burn through the wrong clothes

Always follow safe sun practice, because the power of the sun is often underestimated.  Even though you think the sun is not shining on a warm sunny day, the sun is still there so please follow the tips above to help prevent burning.

We’ve pulled out some common sunscreen myths and misconceptions that we hear to raise awareness of sun-safe facts that can help protect you and your loved ones better:

1. Misconception: Sunscreen is only necessary on sunny days

Reality: up to 90% of UV radiation penetrates clouds and can even pass through windows, making sunscreen a year-round necessity.

2. Misconception: Higher SPF means better protection

Reality: SPF indicates protection against UVB rays, not UVA. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect both and this is important.  Check both the UVA and UVB protection to ensure you are properly protected against skin burning as well as premature aging.

3. Misconception: Dark skin tones and sizes don’t need sunscreen

Reality: While darker skin tones have more natural protection, they’re still susceptible to sun damage and skin cancer.

And a really important misconception is that a tan will protect you from burning. 

There is no such thing as a healthy tan or a base tan.  Tanning is DNA damage, it’s the skin’s way of telling you that it is being damaged irreparably by the sun.

This damage starts from the very first tanning incident.  Every time skin tans, the risk of skin cancer increases and this happens from childhood.  Just one blistering burn greatly increase that chances of melanoma later in life

Addressing these misconceptions helps us to educate on the importance of consistent sunscreen use alongside other sun protection steps – this is regardless of weather or skin tone.

How does Altruist sunscreen differ from other sunscreens on the market, and what makes it an effective choice for sun protection?

Firstly, the best sunscreen in the world is the one that protects you the best, is one you can afford to wear more of and one that you love wearing – and that fits in with your lifestyle or needs.  This applies to people of all ages.

Altruist Sunscreen is formulated to deliver ultra-high, 5 Star SPF and PPD broad spectrum protection in a range of textures, prices and application methods to suit all people and lifestyles.

Altruist SPF50 sunscreens test very high, above the labeled SPF number and the PPD (UVA protection rating) is also ultra high on all products. 

It is vegan and reef friendly, cruelty free, fragrance free, hypoallergenic and water resistant.

Altruist Sunscreen is also founded and developed by Dr Andrew Birnie a respected Consultant Dermatologist and Skin Cancer Surgeon to suit the most sensitive of skins from age 6+ months.

A key consideration of the formulations is to be gentle enough to help protect those with the most sensitive of skins, including those with complex skin conditions and those on acne treatments that affect the skin. Altruist formulations are highly tolerable to even the more vulnerable and sensitive of skins. This is one of the reasons many GPs, surgeons, dermatologists and dermatology professionals both use and recommend Altruist products.

Altruist Sunscreen prices are also kept really low, so people can afford to wear sunscreen even when times are a bit tough.  This way, people can afford to wear more of it and to afford to reapply it more often.

As part of Altruist’s mission to protect the most vulnerable, 10p from every single Altruist product sold is donated to protect those living with albinism in Africa from the sun. Over €1 million has been donated so far and thanks to incredible charity partners such as Stichting Albinisme in Afrika (SAA), Altruist will continue to donate record-breaking numbers of sunscreen products to reach those that need it most.

So Altruist Sunscreen is more than a protection product. It’s a holistic approach to protection and education to save lives.  Its mission is based on changing habits, educating, raising awareness, making premium quality sunscreen affordable and accessible to most people, all over the world to reduce the incidence of skin cancer.

How can you choose a sunscreen for sensitive skin or specific skin conditions?

All skins are different and this applies to those with medically treated skin conditions, complex skin sensitivities or those with skin allergies.

For this reason, what works for one person with a condition, might not work for the next.  Altruist recommends opting for a high protection sunscreen that is specifically formulated for sensitive skins, is fragrance free and is recommended by GPs and Dermatologists for your specific condition.  If in doubt, always ask for professional advice.

When trying a new formulation for the first time, if there are any concerns about a personal skin condition and how it may react, always test on the inside of the elbow 72 hours prior to a full application.

How can we encourage different ages, from children to adults, to adopt healthy, lifelong sun safety habits?

Through constant education and awareness of sun damage and establishing habits that each age can adopt – and relate too.

Also, by making sure that we share sunscreen and safe sun facts by credible, scientific based and medical research sources.  With the rise of social media, different ages are being exposed to so much scaremongering and dangerous misinformation.  There’s a real danger to health if we don’t all call-out the myths and listen to professional advice.

From very early years, making sunscreen fun and a normal part of outdoor play is vital.  There are so many ways to do this. 

The Solar Buddies applicators are perfect for small hands to start their first application experiences.  Let them play, but always make sure an adult is on hand to cover all exposed areas evenly with sunscreen – get all that skin white and rub it all in.

The Altruist Family Sunspray SPF50 is another great way to make sunscreen application fun.  Armed with its water-pistol style dispenser nozzle, it’s fun for little and big kids and a great way to accurately aim and reach all the exposed bits – perfectly to cover even the wriggliest of bodies (or moving targets!).

Another way to make sunscreens fun, is to let kids play with the packaging – stickers, personalise their tubes, give them their own bottle for independence – wearing sunscreen is a mindset that we can help establish from a really early age.  Lead by example as well.  Make it a family affair. Show kids how you do it and love doing it and they’ll follow!

For teens, young adults, those who enjoy wearing make-up in the sun and for those with skins that might be oilier, there’s a range of sunscreens to suit every need and budget in the UK. Find one that you love and you’ll wear it!

From super-light, high protection Face Fluid formulations, to tinted foundation light SPF50s to make-up primer SPF50s, Altruist Sunscreen is constantly evolving its ultra high protection sunscreen range to suit more people’s needs and skins. There’s something for almost everyone.

Also, make sunscreen cheap.  Low cost sunscreen helps to save lives because as adults, there are so many conflicting weekly spend priorities.  Making sunscreen affordable means more people are likely to buy it and won’t scrimp on wearing it – because research shows that if a sunscreen is expensive, people are more likely to wear less and not reach the required protection.

Finally, the best way to change habits is to make it part of your daily routine – like brushing teeth. 

Either as the final level of your daily skincare routine or after shaving as a post-shave moisturiser or after your moisturiser. Look for reasons to wear it, not excuses not to wear it.  The right sunscreen will enhance your skin and should never be a chore.

The future of sunscreen.  What new innovations in sun protection can we all expect?

As technology advances, so too does sun protection. The future holds promise for even more effective and sustainable sun protection solutions. Stay informed and embrace these innovations if they are regulated, well tested and deliver protection to very high industry standards.

Long sun-story short, everyone should protect themselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Through the regular application of high-quality sunscreen we can each minimise the risk of skin damage, premature aging, and even skin cancer.

Because just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.[2]

So please pop some of Altruist Sunscreen into your basket, slather it on and go out to enjoy the outdoors to the fullest!

[2] https://www.skcin.org/skinCancerInformation/sunburnTheFacts.htm

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